Don’t let a heatwave become a crime wave

12 August 2020 - Elizabeth Nichols

It’s not only holidaymakers who enjoy good weather – it’s also house burglars’ favourite time of year, says Ed Foster, Insurance Executive.
As many of us start to go back to work or even get away on holiday, it’s worth remembering that summer is traditionally a peak time for house burglaries. Open windows and doors left unlocked as homeowners try to let in a breeze,or hold a BBQ are all irresistible temptations for thieves. 
Burglars are renowned opportunists and will often break into properties in broad daylight if they think the rewards are there for the taking. However there is good news: statistically the number of household burglaries in the UK is falling. The lower value of used electrical goods is reducing the demand for cheap second-hand items, and the increased profits to be had from cybercrime are now detracting thieves from the more ‘traditional’ offences such as breaking and entering.
Burglary is still an issue in many residential areas and can be devastating for victims, so how can you avoid being a victim?
Firstly, most house burglaries in urban areas are committed by opportunists. Rural areas are more likely to attract a planned approach. No one house type is more at risk than another, all are fair game to a burglar.
Secondly, there are plenty of things that can be done to deter a burglar:
•          Physical security such as branded locks on all external doors, quality window locks etc. Don’t forget the garage, shed and other buildings outside. Good fencing and some prickly plants can also deter intruders.
•          Lighting is important, both externally and internally. This can range from detector controlled external security lights to internal lights which can be reprogrammed using timing devices or operated remotely via an App. Other devices can be operated in the same way, for example televisions and radios can be turned on, giving the impression that the house is occupied.
•          CCTV is now common in many properties, but do some research first or seek advice from a professional. Wireless cctv systems are becoming ever more sophisticated, such as the Ring system (from Amazon) or Nest (owned by Google), which link video doorbells and livestream footage to your phone.
Thirdly, fit a burglar alarm. Homes with a professionally installed and maintained alarm system are much less likely to be broken into than those without one, but it’s wise to use a reputable installation company and get at least two quotes. They will give you advice on what equipment you will need to protect your property, the cost of installation and any ongoing maintenance charges after the first year warranty expires. Maintenance is desirable but not required, however your insurance company may insist that an annual maintenance agreement is in place.

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